Only precisely separated waste becomes high-quality recyclable material again
May 1st, 2021
Recycling is not just a business model for PreZero, but a sustainable social vision. That’s why we’re regularly involved in awareness campaigns for consumers with the aim of spreading the word on optimum waste separation – as shown by the current initiative “Mülltrennung wirkt” (EN: Waste separation has an effect!).
Waste separation has an effect – really
According to calculations presented by the Öko-Institut, the recycling of packaging from the yellow bag or yellow garbage bin (bag and garbage bin to collect recyclable packaging material) and paper bin as well as glass recycling saves a total of about 3.1 million tons of CO2 equivalent per year. That equates to the emissions produced by a city the size of Bonn over the same period. The use of recycled paper is also good for the environment because the production process for virgin fiber paper requires about three times as much energy and about five times as much water as the production of recycled paper.
These figures represent just a sample of many facts which clearly indicate: “Mülltrennung wirkt!” is much more than the slogan of an initiative, but rather a reflection of reality. And not only do we recover valuable materials for the production loop through recycling – we also ensure that other, potentially problematic methods of disposal are no longer practiced. If plastic is simply thrown away in coastal regions, the problem of “microplastics in the ocean”, together with its devastating consequences for marine life, can almost be taken as a given.
The following applies here: While it is important to point out the positive effects of recycling, we should also remember that each individual plays a part in this success, i.e. by separating their waste at home. And this is where there is still plenty of room for improvement.
Why waste is often not separated properly
Europe as a continent and Germany in particular are regarded as pioneers in the area of waste separation. For example, around two-thirds of Germans say they separate their waste correctly. In the USA, by contrast, the recycling rate stands at a lowly approx. 25 %. However, around 30 % of waste that has not been disposed of correctly also ends up in the yellow bag and yellow bin.
The most common reason for not separating waste is the assumption that it will be incinerated anyway (14 %). Another reason people give for incorrect waste separation is convenience (just shy of 10 %). Furthermore, a good 8 % of those surveyed believe that waste is exported abroad and not recycled. For PreZero and the dual systems*, the aim is to combat precisely these prejudices as part of the current campaign “Mülltrennung wirkt!”.
*Due to the German Packaging Law manufacturers are required to take care of the recycling or disposal of any packaging material they sell (Extended Producer Responsibility; EPR). In order to liberate industrial firms and retailers from their individual take-back and recovery obligations the dual system was established and now manages the recycling of German domestic waste financed by licensing fees from the producing businesses.
The initiative “Mülltrennung wirkt!” – PreZero is on board
“Mülltrennung wirkt!” is a campaign run by the dual systems in Germany. One of the main goals of this initiative is to reduce the amount waste incorrectly thrown into the yellow bag or yellow bin and as a result improve the quality of collection.
“In order to provide people with the required knowledge, our initiative focuses on information and awareness,” emphasizes campaign spokesperson, Axel Subklew. Here he also underlines the importance of forging cross-sector partnerships: “Collaborating with companies from the recycling economy is extremely important to us. Because we’re all pursuing a common goal: to reduce the volume of residual waste that ends up in the yellow bin or yellow bag while increasing the portion of packaging materials at the same time,” explains Subklew.
PreZero is an important partner in taking this message quite literally to the streets. For several days now, collection vehicles belonging to PreZero have been carrying eye-catching motifs calling on people to dispose of their packaging correctly and thereby actively contribute to climate and resource protection.
How PreZero is also committed to ensuring better waste separation
Participation in “Waste separation works!” is not the only contribution made by PreZero in terms of consumer awareness. PreZero is also actively involved in environmental protection through the “geTon – Initiative Gelbe Tonne” (EN: Yellow Bin Initiative). A look back at the campaign from 2019: Together, GeTon and PreZero stopped off at 20 different car parks in front of Kaufland and Lidl stores over a period of almost two months. Their aim: to raise awareness among customers for the important topic of recycling. Also there: a PreZero waste disposal vehicle including driver, something which attracted fathers and sons in particular. The second important tool of the campaign: passers-by were invited to play a round of “Trennory”. Participants could test and expand their knowledge through this interactive memory game featuring pictures of various types of waste and separation systems.
Furthermore, under the “geTon” initiative, instructional films created by the Junior Uni Wuppertal are aimed specifically at children as part of a digital educational offering. The message means: “Well separated is half recycled”. “A motto to which we at PreZero are also fully committed,” says Thomas Kyriakis, CEO of PreZero, emphasizing the importance of early education when it comes to proper waste separation. After all, waste is also a recyclable material – and from properly sorted plastic you get recyclate and ultimately a new product.
These are just two examples of initiatives which highlight PreZero’s commitment to recycling. What is crucial: The recycling of reusable materials is a holistic process – the fewer the gaps, the better it works.